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Immunological and neural synapses share properties such as the synaptic cleft, adhesion molecules, stability, and polarity. However, the mismatch in scale has limited the utility of these comparisons. The discovery of phosphatase micro-exclusion from signaling elements in immunological synapses and innate phagocytic synapses define a common functional unit at a common sub-micron scale across synapse types. Bundling of information from multiple antigen receptor microclusters by an immunological synapse has parallels to bundling of multiple synaptic inputs into a single axonal output by neurons, allowing integration and coincidence detection. Bonafide neuroimmune synapses control the inflammatory reflex. A better understanding of the shared mechanisms between immunological and neural synapses could aid in the development of new therapeutic modalities for immunological, neurological, and neuroimmunological disorders alike.

Original publication

DOI

10.1172/JCI58705

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Clin Invest

Publication Date

04/2012

Volume

122

Pages

1149 - 1155

Keywords

Animals, Antigens, CD45, Biological Evolution, Dendritic Cells, Humans, Immunologic Capping, Immunological Synapses, Inflammation, Lymphocyte Cooperation, Models, Biological, Models, Immunological, Neuroimmunomodulation, Neurons, Phagocytosis, Phosphorylation, Protein Processing, Post-Translational, Receptors, Immunologic, Signal Transduction, Synapses, Vagus Nerve